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My Ántonia, Willa Cather

My Ántonia recounts the childhood experiences of two young people who have recently arrived in the vast, untamed Nebraska of the late 1800s. Told from the perspective of Jim Burden, a young orphan who has come to live with his grandparents, the story focuses upon the enduring character of Ántonia Shimerda, the daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family. Ántonia's own struggles present a rich portrayal of larger issues: the difficulties of fitting into a new land with a new language, the constraints faced by women in the nineteenth century, the harsh challenges of the prairie, and the desire for family and companionship.

Related Readings

"Letter to Frances Samland"—personal letter by Annie Pavelka

from The House on Mango Street—vignettes from the novel by Sandra Cisneros

"Catherine Moran McNamara: The Life of the Irish" and "Phillip and Theresa Bonacorsi: Children of the Lawrence Strike"—interviews by June Namias

"Willa Cather Talks of Work"—interview by F. H.

"Willa Cather"—interview by Eleanor Hinman

from PrairyErth—travel writing by William Least Heat-Moon

Study Guide


McGraw-Hill / Glencoe